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Emanuel Ax, Beethoven, and The Year 1917

Dec 01 - Dec 03


Emanuel Ax performs Beethoven’s vivacious Piano Concerto No. 2. Still’s Darker America explores themes of sorrow, hope, and prayer in the lives of Black Americans. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 12 gives a dramatic musical account of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and is played by our Orchestra for the first time on these concerts. Rafael Payare conducts. 

Emanuel Ax, Beethoven, and The Year 1917


7:30 PM





2:00 PM





8:00 PM




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Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall


2 Hours with Intermission

Additional Info

These concerts will be streamed on the Hauser Digital Wall.



Darker America


Piano Concerto No. 2



Symphony No. 12, The Year 1917


  • Rafael Payare


    Rafael Payare’s profound musicianship, technical brilliance, and charismatic presence on the podium have elevated him as one of today’s most sought-after conductors. The 2022–23 season marks his first as music director of Orchestre symphonique de Montreal and his fourth season as music director of San Diego Symphony Orchestra, with which his relationship has been recognized as one of the most dynamic in North America.

    Payare has worked with many of the world’s leading ensembles, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’Accademia nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Since making his North American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2015, he has worked with the major orchestras of Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. He has enjoyed collaborations with eminent soloists, including pianists Piotr Anderszewski, Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov; violinists Vilde Frang, Hilary Hahn, Sergey Khachatryan, Gil Shaham, and Frank Peter Zimmerman; cellist Alisa Weilerstein; and soprano Dorothea Röschmann.

    Rafael Payare’s inaugural season as music director of Orchestre symphonique de Montreal (OSM) includes the launch of a multiyear Mahler cycle to open their season at Maison symphonique; a European tour, including the OSM’s debut at London’s Southbank Centre and return to the Vienna Konzerthaus for two concerts; and their return to Carnegie Hall, which marks Payare’s debut at the celebrated venue. Other highlights of the season include his New York Philharmonic debut and return visits to The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras, London Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony.

    Payare previously served as principal conductor and music director of the Ulster Orchestra, from 2014 to 2019, with which he appeared twice at the BBC Proms, in 2016 and 2019. He now holds the title of conductor laureate in recognition of his artistic contribution to the orchestra and City of Belfast during his five-year tenure. He was awarded first prize at the Malko International Conducting Competition in May 2012.


    Learn more about Rafael Payare
  • Emanuel Ax


    Born to Polish parents in what today is Lvov, Ukraine, Emanuel Ax moved to Winnipeg, Canada, with his family when he was a young boy. He made his New York debut in the Young Concert Artists Series, and in 1974 won the first Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition in Tel Aviv. In 1975 he won the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists, followed four years later by the Avery Fisher Prize. In the fall of 2021 he resumed a post-COVID touring schedule that included concerts with the Colorado, Pacific, Cincinnati, and Houston symphonies, the Minnesota, Philadelphia, and Cleveland orchestras, and the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics. His 2022–23 season will include a tour with Itzhak Perlman “and Friends,” as well as a continuation of the Beethoven For Three touring and recording project with Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma, this year on the west coast. Ax has been a Sony Classical exclusive recording artist since 1987, and following the success of the Brahms Trios with Kavakos and Ma, the trio launched a multi-year project to record all the Beethoven trios and symphonies arranged for trio. He has received Grammys for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas, and made a series of Grammy-winning recordings with Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. He also contributed to an International Emmy-winning BBC documentary commemorating the Holocaust that aired on the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Ax is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Skidmore College, New England Conservatory of Music, Yale University, and Columbia University.

    Learn more about Emanuel Ax

Special Thanks

Lead support for the December 1–3 concerts is provided by Klara and Larry A. Silverstein.

The December 1 concert is supported by Edna Mae and Leroy Fadem, loyal subscribers since 1977.

Generous support for Emanuel Ax’s appearances is provided by The Donna and Marvin Schwartz Virtuoso Piano Performance Series.


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